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Airbus, Boeing aero parts maker loses $54m in cyber-stick-up

The hills are alive with the sound of cursing

An Austrian engineering firm is counting the cost of poor IT security after admitting €50m ($54m) has gone missing from its accounts following a "cyber fraud."

FACC Operations makes airplane parts for giants like Airbus and Boeing, and is majority owned by a Chinese holding company. It insists its intellectual property, engineering, and operations servers weren't compromised, and that it is still financially liquid.

"The financial accounting department of FACC Operations GmbH was the target of cyber fraud. FACC's IT infrastructure, data security, IP rights as well as the operational business of the group are not affected by the criminal activities," the firm said in a statement.

"The damage is an outflow of approx. EUR 50 mio of liquid funds. The management board has taken immediate structural measures and is evaluating damages and insurance claims."

The biz initially reported that it had been a victim of outside hackers, but initial investigations have shown that to be false. Instead, the evidence points to an inside job, with persons unknown managing to get around the electronic payment systems protection systems and siphoning off a huge amount of cash.

Austrian police are investigating, and the firm's financial servers are being pored over byte by byte to find the culprits. The probe may take months, a spokesman told reporters.

FACC's stock price fell by nearly 20 per cent on the news, although it has since recovered slightly. ®

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